Sunday, 14 November 2010
Strange Times in the Steam Room
I love sitting in the steam room of my local gym at the end of a workout or swim, particularly as the temperature drops outdoors and winter begins to weave its way into our weather system. Ten minutes of tropical heat defrosts and rejuvenates, allowing me to imagine I’m in warmer climes or at least removes the veil of blue dancing across my skin. This time is the summit of my exercise session, when I can enjoy a feeling of achievement and totally unwind.
Sometimes relaxation is difficult however. Not because I’m mentally or physically in the wrong place to chill out. Because steroid enhanced, shiny, fake-tanned, sometimes hairy menbeasts with an excess of testosterone are in the wrong place to allow me to relax – they’re in the steam room too, damn them.
Like David Attenborough observing prosimians* in the wild, I look on, fascinated, at this uncultivated species in their natural habitat. They swagger. They exhale/heavy breathe. They posture outrageously to determine the alpha male of the pack and subsequent pecking order. The most dominant sit on top of the high backed tiled seats, heads skimming the ceiling, allowing them to survey the area below for potential prey or mates and feel important. They pace restlessly. They sit on the floor and stretch. Imagined yoga positions are adopted. Last week a manbeast pushed his face to within millimetres of the steam vent, perhaps to maximise steam absorption or perhaps to acquire a third degree burn, thus rendering him 'hard' and gaining promotion through the ranks of the steamy tropics. This week I witnessed a particularly loud and sweaty creature performing push ups, an act that no doubt gained him kudos aplenty. They are strange times indeed in the steam room. I occasionally manage relaxation, usually early morning before the ‘roiders rise, but truthfully I'd miss their antics if they weren’t around. I might contact Sir David and propose a six part series.
*The most primitive of all the primates.